BUCS Championship Qualification Match 

Blues 3-0 Birmingham University (25-19, 25-8, 25-11)
Linton Village College, 07/11/2001

Cambridge men's Blues volleyball team turned in their most impressive performance of the season so far yesterday as they trounced Birmingham University in straight sets, improving their BUSA qualifying record to 2-1. The Light Blues completed victory in only 43 minutes' playing time, equally the record for a win in a best of five-game match set last season against Oxford.

The Blues arrived at their adopted home venue of Linton Village College with the strongest squad that they have had available for selection so far this season. Although Ken Kato and Harvard middle blocker Chris Thornton were unavailable and Mathias Klaeui was out with 'flu, coach Dr Richard White was able to start Anthony Reynolds as setter with Dan Roy opposite, Dan Escott and Jean Jacquet in the middle and debutant Andy Lynn alongside Pierre Briguet-Lamarre on the outside. Denis Zuev took up his usual position as libero.

Cambridge began inauspiciously as a short serve from Birmingham setter Bonnet caught Zuev unawares to secure an ace, and the early exchanges were finely balanced as Bonnet used his hard-hitting opposite Antoniadis to good effect. However good float serving from Andy Lynn gave Cambridge transition opportunities which were duly converted by Briguet-Lamarre and Roy, and the first set was taken comfortably 25-19.

Game two saw the same players take to the court, but their play as a team suddenly stepped up several gears. Birmingham were powerless in the face of the Blues' staunch blocking and floor defence, and had no answer to Cambridge's power and range of hitting in transition. The visitors called time-out with Cambridge 11-4 up thanks to a fine service run from Dan Roy, but this was merely the prelude to a similar run from Lynn which took his side out to 21-5. Soren Koeppe replaced Jacquet and Roger Konrad came on for Reynolds as setter as the set was wrapped up with only eight points conceded.

Konrad and Koeppe started set three, and a reinvigorated Birmingham side, who retained a buoyant team spirit despite their crushing reverse in the previous set, initially competed well. At 6-5 up, however, the visitors were again unable to respond as Cambridge moved to a higher level, going on a 12-1 run behind Pierre Briguet-Lamarre's jump serve and some outstanding defence from Zuev and Lynn. Konrad set a balanced attack and all of the Blues' hitters were kept interested in transition. Quentin Ramasse replaced Briguet-Lamarre and John Lin served for Soren Koeppe, and the match was ended on a fittingly resounding note as Andy Lynn bounced the ball down after a well-set combination play to seal it 25-11.

Coach White said after the game: "This was an impressive performance. Birmingham are a reasonable side, similar to Nottingham in standard, and showed plenty of determination throughout. But we had almost a full-strength side out, and quite simply played at a different level for most of the match. We're gradually ironing out the creases which the Oxford defeat showed up, and there's still plenty of room for improvement. The Loughborough match next week will be a good test of how we are progressing, the players know this and are looking forward to it."

Both Konrad and Reynolds set a balanced attack throughout, with the result being a three-way tie on 12 points for MVP between Roy, Escott and Briguet-Lamarre. Cambridge's next match is away against last year's BUSA runners-up, Loughborough on Wednesday November 14th before they play Cranfield at home the following Saturday.

Report by Richard White

NamePositionSets PlayedAttacksKillsKill PercentAcesBlocks Total Points
Pierre Briguet-Lamarre O 3 13 9 69 1 2 12
Dan Escott M 3 9 8 89 0 4 12
Jean Jacquet M 2 3 0 0 0 3 3
Soren Koeppe M 2 2 2 100 0 1 3
Roger Konrad S 2 0 0 1 0 1
John Lin Serve 1 0 0 0 0 0
Andrew Lynn O 3 14 8 57 0 1 9
Quentin Ramasse O 1 0 0 0 0 0
Anthony Reynolds S 2 1 0 0 0 0 0
Dan Roy U 3 12 8 67 2 2 12
Denis Zuev Lib 3 0 0 0 0 0
Team Total 54 35 65 4 13 52